Battle of Skafida

Battle of Skafida

Infobox Military Conflict

conflict=Battle of Skafida
partof=the Byzantine-Bulgarian Wars
place=near Sozopol, Bulgaria
result=Bulgarian victory
commander1=Theodore Svetoslav
commander2=Michael IX Palaiologos

The Battle of Skafida ( _bg. Битка при Скафида) occurred in 1304 near Sozopol, Bulgaria. As a result the Bulgarian Empire overcame the crisis from the end of the 13th century, achieved internal stability and regained most of Thrace. For a time afterwards, Byzantium wasn't a serious threat to it.

Origin of the conflict

When Theodore Svetoslav was crowned Emperor of Bulgaria in 1300, he sought revenge for the Tatar attacks on the state in the previous 20 years. The traitors were punished first, including Patriarch Joakim III, who was found guilty of helping the enemies of the crown. Then the tzar turned to Byzantium, which had inspired the Tatar invasions and had managed to conquer many Bulgarian fortresses in Thrace. In 1303 his army marched southwards and regained many towns. In the following year the Byzantines counter-attacked and the two armies met near the Skafida river.

The battle

The Byzantines had an advantage in the beginning and managed to push the Bulgarians across the river. They were so infatuated with the chase of the retreating soldiers that they crowded on the bridge, which had been sabotaged before the battle by the Bulgarians, and broke down. The river was very deep at that place and many Byzantine soldiers panicked and drowned, which helped the Bulgarians snatch victory.


After the victory, the Bulgarians captured a lot of Byzantine soldiers and according to custom the ordinary people were released and only the nobles were held for ransom. The Bulgarian army continued its victorious campaign and the enemy could not stop them, although the Byzantine emperor melted his personal treasure in order to recruit more soldiers. A peace treaty was signed in 1307 that lasted until Theodore Svetoslav's death in 1321.

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